There was much excitement from around the globe in the last few days, when the contents of the 17th century Grade I Palladian country house, Aynhoe Park in Oxfordshire, went under the hammer at Dreweatts
. The auction, titled Aynhoe Park: The Celebration of a Modern Grand Tour took place in the form of two live auctions on Wednesday, January 20th & Thursday 21st, 2021 and an online auction on Friday, January 22, 2021.
The collection, from the celebrated family home of James and Sophie Perkins, which has played host to celebrities from the music, film and fashion worlds, drew huge world-wide interest as expected, with spirited bidding online and on the telephones from across the UK, Europe, Asia and the US.
Aynhoe Park was furnished with a vast collection of iconic objects and curiosities from the Perkins travels across the globe and featured artworks, books, sculpture, furniture, taxidermy, modern design and curiosities, which were evocative of the modern Grand Tour, hence the auction title.
Some of the most iconic pieces in the sale included those conceived by James Perkins himself, for his studio. These included the Flying Giraffe, which went through the roof at £125,000, as well as the Aynhoe Moon picture, which shone with a £17,500 price. These and other works have cemented James Perkins as a designer and artist in his own right.
Speaking after the sale, James Perkins said: Sophie and I are humbled by the interest generated by the sale. It really was the celebration that we had wished for and we hope that everyone will enjoy their bit of Aynhoe. Many thanks to Dreweatts and our team at Aynhoe for a great job in making it happen.
The sale totalled £4.1 million against a pre-sale low estimate of £1.3 million, with buyers taking the opportunity to own a true piece of English history, which culminated in competitive bidding, sometimes up until the last second, as the hammer was about to go down!
Commenting on the sale, Will Richards, Deputy Chairman of Dreweatts, said: We are delighted with the result of this spectacular sale, which broke boundaries in so many ways. Dreweatts always approaches sales of private collections and house sales as creatively as possible and the current pandemic was no exception.
Having faced the first lockdown, we set to work to find a way that would offer clients the Aynhoe Park experience, without having to break lockdown rules to tour the house. We created a 360 degree virtual tour of the property with items for sale popping up as they were laid out in each room, with lot descriptions and estimates. This gave anyone interested in buying from the sale, a sense of having viewed the item in situ. We worked closely with the Perkins to ensure the contents of Aynhoe were presented and represented in the way that they wanted them to be and in a way that celebrated the collection and its surroundings.
We very much enjoyed the diversity of the sale, which allowed us to reach and celebrate this wonderful collection with existing and new clients around the world.
James beloved grand red leather high-backed armchair is believed to have belonged to a judge. It bears the letters E.R. in gilt on the back and is stamped underneath with the letters G. Stone Ltd, July 1968 A.D. The chair sold for £12,500 against an estimate of £2,000-£4,000.
A six million year old skull of a Triceratops from the Maastrichtian, late Cretaceous (68-65 Mya) period, was one of the popular and most revered items in the sale. Excavated from Private land in Montana the skull, mounted on a stand was given an estimate of £180,000-£250,000 it sold for £306,250.
A fabulous 1959 Le Mans tribute half-scale model of the winning Aston Martin DBR1, sold for £50,000 against an estimate of £10,000-£15,000. The static model of the car in Aston Martin Californian Sage Green was created to commemorate the victory by Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby at the 24-hour race. It featured a fibre-glass body shell with plastic windscreen, chromed spoked fixed wheels with spinners fitted with Innovar pneumatic tyres. It had a cockpit with two seats, a dashboard with dummy instrument panel and a steering wheel with the number '5' race roundel and drivers' details to each side.
A stunning gilt metal and coloured agate wall light in the form of a beautifully coloured butterfly was a star attraction in the sale.
Created by the French Post-War & Contemporary artist Henri Fernandez, for atelier Jacques Duval-Brasseur in the 1970s, it was estimated to fetch £800-£1,200 but sold for £7,500.
A work by British graffiti artist Stik, renowned for his portrayal of stick figures around the world, was estimated to fetch £40,000-60,000 and sold for £100,000.
The Original Aynhoe Rocking Zebra by James Perkins, was created in 2013. It is composed of a preserved Burchell's zebra, Equus quagga burchellii and later modelled as an adult rocking horse, mounted on a mahogany rocker base. Estimated at £3,000-£5,000 it rocked out at £40,000.
A plaster moulding of the Aynhoe Park coat of arms was also highly sought-after. Surmounted by a coronet lions head, above a shield and helmet and flanked by a unicorn and polar bear, it bore the motto: 'Honesius Inovans Audex'. Estimated to fetch £100-200 it sold for £4,000.